Christmas movies are exactly like Christmas music. There’s so much of them out there that just about every selection seems potentially terrible. Thankfully, we’re here with a list of the best Christmas movies to watch after a satisfying and potentially food coma-inducing meal. You’re welcome.
1. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
Also known as: That old black and white feel good movie that involves a small town hero achieving redemption by jumping through parallel universes… wait, is this a superhero flick?
Why it’s awesome: Frank Capra’s story of all-around do-gooder George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), who is driven to suicide but saved by divine intervention by an angel who lets him see an alternate timeline of what would have happened to his family, friends and community had he never been born, Sure, it is a little dark, but when George returns on Christmas Eve to find out that his friends have bailed him out of his debts in return for all the good deeds he’s done in life, it’s hard not to shed a little tear.
2. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Also known as: The movie that starts with the Macy’s Day parade. See what it was like way back in 1947.
Why it’s awesome: Natalie Wood’s Susan Walker is pretty darn convinced that the Santa Claus working at Macy’s is the real thing. The scene when she sees him switch fluently to Dutch while conversing with a young female Jewish refugee is a sheer delight.
3. A Christmas Story (1983)
Also known as: The movie with that scene where the kid’s tongue is stuck to a frozen lamppost. That scene was infamously parodied by “A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas”, which is an alternative you can consider.
Why it’s awesome: The obsession of main character Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) with his desired B.B Gun comes to sweet fruition when he finally goes to bed with his prized possession, filled with content… even if he almost blinded himself with it.
4. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Also known as: The 25-minute TV special where Charlie Brown is depressed by the over-commercialisation of Christmas.
Why it’s awesome: With Charlie wondering if he truly does know what Christmas is all about, Linus recites an inspiring rendition of the story of Nativity, lifting Charlie’s spirits.
5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Also known as: The movie where Chevy Chase’s quest for the perfect family Christmas celebration gets foiled time after time in spectacular fashion.
Why it’s awesome: All the follies turn into something good as Chevy’s Clark Griswold and family get the Christmas show of a lifetime, with a methane fueled explosion blowing up Clark’s Santa and reindeer set into the night sky. Plus, a young Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki (Leonard from The Big Bang Theory) are the kids!
6. Home Alone (1990)
Also known as: That movie starring Macauley Culkin, which seemed to inspire the final action set piece of “Skyfall”.
Why it’s awesome: It’s pretty much 103 minutes of Kevin (Culkin) terrifying the hell out of Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. Plus, the late John Candy’s cameo provides a simultaneously heartwarming and hilarious moment when he, the super jovial Gus Polinski, the leader of the Kenosha Kickers… a traveling polka band, offers Kevin’s mom a lift home on Christmas Eve just so she can be with her son on the big occasion.
7. Scrooged (1988)
Also known ss: The adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” that has Bill Murray starring, Richard donner producing and directing and a score by Danny Elfman. Seriously, this film’s stocking was flushed with talent.
Why it’s awesome: Bill Murray absolutely carries the movie… and his cruel, cold hearted character’s antics as a cut throat television executive who doesn’t have love or family and fires people on a whim are matched only by his monologue at the end, where having seen the error of his ways from three ghosts, he interrupts the live staging of “A Christmas Carol” to tell viewers to “spend Christmas with the people you care about instead of watching TV”.
8. The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)
Also known as: The surprisingly faithful adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” that has Michael Caine as Scrooge… and the Muppets. The Great Gonzo is Charles Dickens, who narrates the movie. Yes. It’s as amazing as it sounds.
Why it’s awesome: In a rather delightful scene, the Ghost of Christmas Present attempts to cajole Caine’s Scrooge into the joys of the season by regaling him with the anthem, “It Feels Like Christmas”. It doesn’t exactly work.
9. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Also known as: The only Christmas movie you watch on Halloween.
Why it’s awesome: Created by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick, the stop motion animation’s best scene is arguably when Jack Skellington, “The Pumpkin King”, accidentally opens a portal from Halloween Town to Christmas Town after becoming tired of the same routine year after year. Watch as every Christmas cliche you’ve known comes to life to Danny Elfman’s “What’s This?”
10. Elf (2003)
Also known as: The movie where Will Ferrell plays an elf.
Why it’s awesome: A pre-New Girl Zooey Deschanel leads the city of New York in singing “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”. In doing so, Christmas Spirit is restored and Santa has enough power to move his sleigh again. Yes, it’s as insane as it sounds.